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Invite an Author

Every month, we highlight an author in an initiative called "BCCLS Invite an Author". Many of these authors are happy to visit BCCLS libraries to chat with your book clubs or present programs either in person or via Skype. You can email them directly for more information or to schedule a library visit.

Previous Authors

June 2012

Richard Muti and Charles Buckley

Photo © 2011.
David Bergeland/NorthJersey.com.
Used with permission.

Name:

   Richard Muti &
   Charles Buckley

Email:

     RichardMuti@aol.com

Books:


Letter of Introduction:

Whenever possible, local authors get a spot in my "Invite an Author" series. I am delighted to present two authors who, I believe, would present a fascinating, albeit somber, discussion of a crime that occurred here in Bergen County.

It is my pleasure to present Richard Muti and Charles Buckley as our BCCLS Invite an Author for June 2012. A double-header!

In October 1975, two young, attractive women were abducted from their respective towns in the northern valley region of Bergen County. The bodies of Susan Heynes and Susan Reeve were found later that same month in secluded areas of Rockland County, NY. Each had been strangled with her own pantyhose.

Thus began one of the most sensational murder cases in New Jersey history. Robert Reldan—a career criminal whose M.O. targeted women, especially those he perceived to be alone and vulnerable—became the prime suspect in a matter of days. Police were able to arrest him on unrelated burglary charges and take him off the streets of Bergen County, but it took 15 months before he was ultimately charged with the two murders, and 14 years before he was ultimately convicted for those two murders.

Charles Buckley, a former Bergen County Prosecutor and resident of Norwood, and Richard Muti, also a former assistant prosecutor in Bergen County and former Mayor of Ramsey, have co-authored a book about the Robert Reldan case titled "The Charmer: The True Story of Robert Reldan—Rapist, Murderer, and Millionaire—and the Women Who Fell Victim to his Allure." Their book was recently the subject of a front-page article ("Book delves into Bergen murderer's 'charm': Former prosecutors explore system's failings," The Record, November 30, 2011) and a docu-drama on the Investigation Discovery channel ("The Will of Lillian Booth").

There are numerous northern New Jersey towns associated with Mr. Reldan. He grew up in Fort Lee, lived in Closter from 1958 to 1975, (when not in prison) and Tenafly (where his marital residence was). Victims came from Haworth (home of one murder victim), and Demarest (home of a second murder victim). He also left victims in Teaneck, Norwood, and North Arlington. There is potential for a lot of "local" interest.

Two best-selling authors have had this to say about The Charmer, after reviewing pre-publication drafts of the book:

"The Charmer is an absolutely fascinating true crime story. It is also one of the best, in-depth examinations of the criminal mind I have read in a long time; here, that of a young man with all of life's advantages who turned into a serial rapist and ruthless killer of two beautiful young women. Authors Richard Muti and Charles Buckley, two experienced former prosecutors who know what they are talking about, have expertly captured the sights, sounds and feel of a gritty homicide investigation as well as the pulsating essence of a major murder trial. I highly recommend this book. It will not disappoint."

Vincent Bugliosi, prosecutor of Charles Manson and author of Helter Skelter, the Edgar-award winning, bestselling true crime book of all time, as well as numerous other books and articles.

"This book tells a story parents would not want to read to their children at night. In crisp prose and with the precision of former prosecutors and the curiosity of good reporters, Richard Muti and Charles Buckley recount how Robert Reldan went from a carefree, handsome young man, doted over by parents and awarded gifts by an aunt who was an IBM heiress, to first a petty burglar, then a serious thief, then a rapist, and finally a killer. This story alone is compelling. What elevates this tale is the authors' account of how these needless tragedies could have been avoided. Every phase of the criminal justice system failed—from prosecutors, to judges, to juries, to court psychiatrists, to probation officers. The book could read like sociology. It does not. It is almost Dreiser-esque."

Ken Auletta, best-selling author of eleven books, including "Googled: The End of the World As We Know It," "Media Man: Ted Turner's Improbable Empire," "Three Blind Mice: How the TV Networks Lost Their Way," and "Greed and Glory on Wall Street.: The Fall of the House of Lehman." Mr. Auletta has written the Annals of Communications columns and profiles for The New Yorker magazine since 1992.

In 2007 Reldan's wealthy aunt, Lillian Booth, died and left him a trust fund valued at $8.9 million, but he was later deprived of that windfall by Arthur Reeve, father of Susan Reeve, in a spectacular lawsuit. Mr. Reeve donated the funds to a memorial scholarship fund at his daughter's college.

Charles Buckley and Richard Muti, both former trial prosecutors (so they know how to keep it interesting), would be very pleased to give a talk at any of the BCCLS libraries along with a book signing. They want you to know that they would be happy to donate one-half of the profits from any book signing (about $5/book) to the local library hosting the event. In return, they do ask that the library do its best to promote their appearance. And they’ll bring the books with them!

I am sure you can see how absorbing a presentation from these two local writers would be.

If you’re interested in hosting an event with Mssrs. Buckley and Muti, please contact Mr. Muti directly at RichardMuti@aol.com. He'll also supply you with additional promotional information.

Warmest regards,

Arlene